The bass Alpenhorn player of our garden is the Greater Coucal. My book says the call is “poomp, poomp, poomp” (presumably in a Yorkshire accent) but I think it is really the warming up exercises of the ultra-long-horn blower. I find it quite soothing, infinitely preferable to yodelling. Think Frank Ifield – “I remember yoooo-ooooh!” Or “poomp poomp poomp”. Now which would you prefer? I watched recently one of the GCs sitting atop of a bush exercising his oompah-box. He dipped his head, fluffed out his throat feathers and let rip. An answering call came from nearby. I know the coucals nest in the scrub below the garden. Here he is.
Two much smaller visitors that refuse to pose properly are the Fork-tailed Sunbird and the Japanese White-eye. They give you a second at most to focus before their nervousness gets the better of them and they move on. On a scale of 1 to 10 for cooperation these would be somewhere around a 3 or a 4. And they keep their distance too. We have a perfectly decent garden behind the house. I planted a Firecracker vine to entice them in – close proximity photography. I could sit in the dining room with my feet up on the dog waiting for the guests to arrive. They could work their way along the vine, turn, smile into the camera and then perhaps enjoy the birdbath before moving on. No extra charge. But no. These chaps prefer the plants in the communal garden across the road. Close. But when the target is 3.5″-4.5″ you need them within spitting distance although, if challenged in court, I shall deny ever having spat at a White-eye. So even with the 800mm bazooka they are tiny in the frame. The evidence is clear. And I’m not giving any hints as to which is the White-eye.
It has rained all day today so I have not taken a single photograph. Tomorrow is heading for the same. I am sure though, that if I open the window I shall hear the sound of one of Heidi’s friends belting out a few poomps. Or maybe it will just be Rolf Harris hiding in the bushes, armed with his giant didgeridoo and wobble board, waiting to belt out Sun Arise……….. If he is waiting for sun here, he could be in for a long wait. I never checked to see if he did a B side, A hard rain’s gonna fall.